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Cart Abandonment: Why It Happens and How to Reduce It
October 10, 2017
Cart-Abandonment-Why-It-Happens-and-How-to-Reduce-It

Cart Abandonment: Why It Happens and How to Reduce It

October 10, 2017
Most retailers are familiar with the dreaded abandoned cart. It prompts fear for business owners everywhere, and for good reason – abandoned carts lead to lost customers and revenue.

According to Business Insider, $4.6 trillion worth of merchandise was abandoned in online shopping carts in 2016.

Luckily, we’ve compiled this post to provide you with background information and helpful marketing techniques, so that you can better understand and recover some of these lost customers. Using the following strategies can reduce cart abandonment on your e-commerce website, boost sales and in case your customer base at the same time.

What Is Cart Abandonment?

Cart abandonment occurs when an online consumer adds something to their cart and then leaves your website without completing the transaction. This behavior is not uncommon and is a continual pain point for marketers and e-commerce professionals.

Though it sounds dire, there is good news: with the right marketing techniques, you can recover some of these customers. Use the following strategies to reduce cart abandonment on your e-commerce website, boosting sales and increasing your customer base at the same time.

Why Do Online Shoppers Abandon Their Carts?

The first step in reducing cart abandonment rates is to understand why it happens in the first place. E-commerce experts at SaleCycle say these are the most common reason users fail to complete transactions:

  • 34 percent were ‘just looking’ (not ready to buy).
  • 23 percent had an issue with shipping.
  • 18 percent wanted to compare prices.
  • 15 percent decided to buy in-store instead.
  • 6 percent abandoned due to a lack of payment options.
  • 4 percent experienced a technical issue.

These standard reasons will help you create a temporary plan while you determine what’s going on with your specific transactions. To get your own data, request customer feedback with short surveys directly on your site, or through email.

Cart Abandonment Emails

In addition to customer surveys, you can use cart abandonment emails to remind customers to return and make their purchase. To make these effective, be sure to segment your lists properly. While this will take time and manual work, BigCommerce found that the average revenue per abandoned cart email is $5.64.

Like any email campaign, your cart abandonment email needs an engaging subject line and personalization to boost open rates and entice users to click through and make the purchase. In addition, you may want to offer an incentive like free shipping or a coupon.

Boost the likelihood that these potential customers will come back by pairing your email with a coupon or discount that encourages them to purchase more. A 2016 retailer coupon analysis found that 76 percent of retailers polled believe that the best coupon type to both boost average cart value and upsell higher margin items and impulse buys is “Minimum Order Value.”

In this case, your email might say something like: “We noticed you didn’t complete your purchase. Spend $100 with the coupon code ImBack2017 to get Free Shipping!”

Offer More Payment Options

There are a number of on-site changes you can make to help reduce cart abandonment rates. One of the most important changes you can make is increasing the number of payment options offered.

“When designing your e-commerce checkout pages, you don’t want anything—anything—to come between your customers and a satisfying, rewarding, and ultimately seamless shopping experience,” says Dan Shewan from WordStream. “However, if you’re only offering a single payment option (or very few choices), you’re putting unnecessary obstacles between your prospects and your sales.”

Try to include standard choices along with newer payment options like Paypal or Google Wallet. These businesses make it easy to implement their payment options on your ecommerce site, allowing you to make the changes quickly and easily.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to email your customers when you have updated the payment options on your site. This may drive a large number of customers to come back and make their purchase.

Allow Users to Save Their Shopping Carts

Everyone is busy, and online shoppers may not have enough time to complete a transaction or may want to compare prices before checking out. In many cases, they’re leaving your site with the intention of returning at a later time. Make the saving process easier with a “save your cart” or “add to cart” button. If a user has to start over and find the items again, he or she is much less likely to complete their transaction.

Here are guides for adding this to your site for a few of the most common e-commerce platforms:

Reduce Page Load Time

Page load time is a significant factor when it comes to user experience on your site. Kissmetrics found that a one-second delay in your site speed can cause a seven percent reduction in conversions and 39 percent of people will stop engaging with a website if images won’t load or take too long to load.

Interestingly, those high-resolution images and multimedia features are often the culprits for long page load times. If you don’t know your average page load time, head to Pingdom or Google’s PageSpeed Insights to calculate. If the grade is below an A, use their suggestions to dictate a plan for how you’ll boost speed. An experienced developer can likely implement those changes quickly and immediately.

Help Your Customers Buy With Confidence

With constant news headlines about hacks and data breaches, your customers want to feel safe when they make an online purchase. Use a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate to encrypt data between your web server and the customer. Internet-savvy customers know to look for the “HTTPS” in your URL, which means your site has a secure SSL certificate. This helps them feel their data and personal information are safe.

You can also add two-factor authentication to add another layer of protection during the sign in or checkout process. Two-factor authentication requires a user to enter an additional piece of information, like a code or security question, in order to access their account.

Pro tip: If your site is not already HTTPS, make that change sooner than later. Google recently announced that they will be requiring this for securing data in Chrome.

Stop Cart Abandonment Today

The more data you can collect about your customers’ user experience, the better. While you wait to get feedback, consider security and payment option changes, which have been proven to decrease cart abandonment for other retailers. Track revenue and abandonment stats for the next quarter to see if you notice an increase or decrease; then make more modifications based on that. Slowly you’ll see that number dwindle while revenue goes up and up.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Jessica Thiefels Headshot
Guest Post by: Jessica Thiefels
Jessica Thiefels has been writing and editing for more than 10 years and is now a full-time writer and consultant. She's been featured on Forbes and has written for a wide variety of sites, including RetailNext, Virgin, Manta, StartupNation and more. Follow her on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn.
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